All newspaper publishers have the same problem — the age structure of subscribers is very old. Young people are difficult to be inspired by the printed newspaper. The future will be digital. But can you convince even the most long-standing subscribers to use a digital product?

An example of the Verlag Dierichs in Kassel, Germany:

The first Apple launched the iPad in 2010. Since that time, more and more newspapers have developed digital tablet offers. In 2012, Verlag Dierichs launched its first digital tablet offer, with a package including the third-generation iPad and our ePaper.

We launched the package with flyer and ads throughout our circulation area, offering a tablet for the new subscribers and subsidised with €100 from us. Our new subscribers paid €35 monthly for the package (iPad and ePaper). For the smallest iPad-version, they had to pay additional one-time fee of €99.

For existing subscribers, we created a special product: customers pay a monthly subscription price for the iPad only, because the ePaper is included in their print-subscription.

The results of our iPad-campaign: 606 of our existing subscribers have used the offer additionally to their print subscription.

This is a large amount. But did they really read the newspaper?

Most of the existing subscribers used Verlag Dierichs as a bank, to which they could repay the fee for the iPad monthly without interest rates.

With the campaign, we gained 154 new subscribers all over our circulation area. In December 2012, we completed the campaign with total cost of €40.000! Not included: online banner on our Web site and ads in the newspaper.

The new start in 2014

One and a half years later, we have no digital packages in our portfolio, except the ePaper itself.

Starting in July 2014, we created a brand new “aggressive” offer. Our new campaign: “Tablet instead of newspaper.” The unique feature is a two-year digital package. Here we have oriented ourselves to the telephone companies with the contracts ending after two years.

We have three new tablets with new pricing models.

  • Lenovo tablet: €29.40/month, including the ePaper.

  • Samsung Galaxy: €35.90/month, including the ePaper.

  • Apple iPad Air 2: €38.90/month, including the ePaper.

For comparison, our monthly copy price for the newspaper is €30.90 (print + digital). The new offer was not subsidised by Verlag Dierichs and has been advertised with ads in the newspaper, online banners, print mailings, and radio commercials.

The success of the new campaign until today:

  • 80 new subscribers choose the Lenovo tablet.

  • 120 choose the Samsung tablet.

  • 400 new subscribers choose the iPad Air.

The important conclusions of the current campaign:

  • 73% of buyers are changed the subscription from print to digital.

  • 90% of buyers are older than 40.

  • 27% of buyers are older than 60.

  • 66% of buyers choose the Apple iPad.

What we will do in the future? We will continue to expand the tablet strategy. In September of this year, we will have new offers with new tablet models and a very important project — offering tablet courses for our older subscribers so they learn how to use the tablet.